J.D. Pauls
Great Divide
Seeley Lake, MT It was my intention to head to Boulder, CO after Rapid City but as I have allowed myself to be flexible this time around I opted for another ride on the "Hill" in town and left Rapid City a little too late in the day. So I ended up in a little town of Lusk Wyoming.

Driving to Lusk brought back so many vivid memories of the Great Divide ride last year, the barren open space and big sky, looking across the fields to the endless dirt road that appear to head out to nowhere. I had one of my best days and my worst day in Wyoming last year, seeing the stars like I have never seen them before as I camped outside the Great Basin and the push through the Great Basin in the heat of the day and the struggles I had with that. It was nice to be in Wyoming again.

Next stop Denver!  My nerves really started today. I found myself pacing a little and quite emotionally distracted as I frantically tried to finalize my plans and gear. Helping with the plans was Ranger Jenn who was flying out the Denver after finishing up a bike tour she was guiding. I am so glad this worked out. We headed to downtown Denver for some fantastic food for my ' last supper'. It was so great catching up with Jennifer. Having both completed our first bike tours last year and being both fortunate enough to be part of the Ranger program makes for a pretty great friendship. I love hearing her talk about her new job with bicycle adventures and I admire the courage to quit her old job to do what she loves.  It Seems to be a common theme for this trip. I have met so many people through bike packing that have become lifelong friends, it’s pretty great.

Jennifer is also assisting in solving my logistics problem. She has offered to drop me at the trail head to shoot some video and take some pics and take my car to the airport where I will have to get back to somehow at the end of my trip. That means a Ranger send off!  Thanks Jennifer, it’s nice to have you there to send me off.

Roll out!  A most important call home to Sharon and the kids to help settle my nerves and off I go!  Everything is finally in place, no turning back. Going to be a great trip, that is after I fix the flat 500 yards from the start...

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

Great Divide's profile picture
J.D. Pauls

Gear List

- MY BLACKBURN GEAR -

- MY BIKE SPECS -

- Technology -

- Required Gear -

- Clothing -

J.D. Pauls's profile picture
J.D. Pauls
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Like many TDR veterans, the trail became part of my DNA, an experience so personal and unique that it actually changed me as a person. Salida, CO was a highlight of my trip last year because it was the point at which I knew I would finish the race. I had several really tough days leading up to Salida and as I crested the last climb before town I turned around and the storms I had been running from were lifting, and the sky behind me produced the largest double rainbow I had ever seen. I descended into the setting sun, the changing landscape was glowing in magical yellows, reds and browns. The pain of the previous hours and days, were instantly and unexpectantly replaced by joy and a truly satisfied soul. The Colorado Trail crosses the Great Divide and runs through Salida. This route is a beast, but pushing myself beyond what I thought possible has become a comfortable and necessary part of how I want to live my life. I don’t think there is a more beautiful trail to experience this on. Discovering the wild world at the intimate speed of the bike really can change the speed at which we live our lives. Oh, and sipping a morning coffee at Cafe Dawn in Salida is definitely worth planning a bike trip around!
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I had a bike growing up, but an accident when I was 15 (1990) ended my childhood cycling career. I didn’t own a bike again until Dec of 2011 when I heard of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and decided I wanted to take on the challenge. I made my first attempt at the Tour Divide in June 2012, and due to lack of cycling base, unpreparedness, lack of knowledge and intense weather, wisely pulled the plug in Butte MT after 10 days and 750 mile complete. I worked hard to return in June 2013 ready to go and completed the 2800 miles in just over 25 days.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? A little different expectation this year. On my divide ride I was truly out to find myself and discover a new J.D. that I always wanted to know was out there, and I think I accomplished that. This trip, since I found that guy I was looking for last year, will be more like visiting an old best friend. It is going to be a blast. Sure I will be racing, but a smell the roses type of racing. What is the point in climbing a mountain if you don’t look around when you get to the top?

MY MUST HAVES

  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Arm Band
  • Arm Band
  • Big Agnus Seedhouse SL1 Tent
  • Glowstick Necklace

- Great Divide Milestones -